Online Orientation Programs

Using Online Orientation to
Meet the Needs and Exceed
the Expectations of Transfer
Presented By:
Katie Granholm, M.S.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
[email protected]
Presentation Outline
• Why Online Orientation?
• What is an effective transfer orientation
• Considerations
– Programmatic, Key Players, Technology,
Logistics, Success
• Overview of U of M Online Orientation
• Lessons learned
Why Online Orientation?
• Increasing transfer student population
– One-third of students transfer during their
college career (1995-96 to 2000-01 NCES study)
• Patterns of transfer are changing
– “Swirl”
• Increased attention on the transfer student
Our Paradigm and/or Goals
• Charge was to develop and implement a program
that achieves the following:
Encourage a less prescriptive and more developmental model
Provides options within the mandate of orientation
Provides individualized attention to each transfer student
Allows transfer students to make choices (whether we agree with
them or not) based on their own experiences, interests and needs
– Strategically communicates with transfer students through print, web,
e-mail, and one-on-one contact from March through the first week of
– Provides a comprehensive, fiscally responsible orientation program
What Makes an Effective Transfer
Orientation Program?
Institutional commitment
Alignment with mission of office and university
Collaboration with college constituents
Based on assessment of student and institutional needs
Takes into account past experiences and future expectations of students
Programs that guide students (not mandate)
Provides options for students’ developmental needs
Academic, social, and behavioral expectations interwoven through the
orientation experience
• Inclusion of parents/guests
• Assessment and feedback is shared and used!
General Needs of Transfer Students During
Transition & Orientation
Campus Information
Considerations- Key Players
Your office
New students
College constituents
Departmental partners
Parents and supporters
Considerations- Programmatic
• What are your desired outcomes?
• What are students looking for in an online
• Who can participate?
• When will online orientation be available?
• Who will provide and edit content?
• How does online orientation interface with other
Considerations- Technology
• How will the program be administered?
– Does this method align with desired outcomes?
• Theme and graphic design?
• Does an existing delivery method exist?
– WebCT, Blackboard, registration system?
• Do students need to log-in?
• Do students need to be populated into program?
• Who will have access?
Considerations- Implementation
• How will content be developed and edited?
– Is special expertise needed? Are there others
on campus who can help?
• How will students be driven to online
– Promotion/Marketing
• Is participation required or optional?
– Do you need to track participation? If so, how?
Considerations- Determining
• What determines success?
– Accomplishment of learning outcomes?
– How will success be measured?
– When will success be measured?
• What do you need to know?
– May be driven by stakeholders/campus constituencies
• What method(s) of evaluation will you use?
– Online questionnaire, paper form, 6-week follow-up
survey, focus groups, usability testing, etc.
– Does the method of evaluation align with desired
Transfer Orientation at the U of M
• 2 options for creating your orientation
– Full-day on-campus orientation OR
– Half-day on-campus orientation with advanced
participation in online orientation
University of Minnesota
Online Orientation
Username: tctrans
Password: really1snice
Welcome Screen
What Students See in WebCT
Course Content- College
Course Content- General
Lessons Learned
• About 70-75% participation
• Vast majority have high-speed internet connection- dialup
connection not an issue
• 80% believe Online Orientation is a good introduction to the
• After one month on campus, 82% of new transfer students
felt that Orientation (both online & on-campus) provided the
knowledge base for them to be successful at the University
of Minnesota.
Lessons Learned Additional Considerations
• Orientation leader training
– Infuse transfer concepts and issues during selection and ongoing
training of orientation leaders
• Students transferring with less than 18 credit hours or less
should have the option of attending first-year orientation.
• Continually develop and improve the new orientation model
– Encourage less prescriptive and more developmental programs
– Provide individualized attention
– Allow transfer students to make own choices based on own
experiences, interests, and needs
– Strategically communicate with transfer student through print, web,
e-mail, and one-on-one contact
Where we are now
• Received technology-enhance learning grant of $10,000 to
integrate video into learning modules
– Video will take the form of “student stories”, allowing new students to
connect with current U of M students who were also transfers
• Colleges more confident with outcomes of Online
Orientation after receiving evaluation data
• Have streamlined on-campus orientation schedule, while
still meeting the needs of all colleges and departments
• Offer online-only option for students enrolling in special
degree programs
– Eg: College of Continuing Education, off-campus Nursing
students, and Dental Hygiene students
Online Orientation Programs
• Washtenaw Community College:
• Carroll Community College:
• Portland Community College:
• Napa Valley Community College:
• Salt Lake Community College:
• Southern Illinois University Carbondale:
• Utah Valley State College:
Some information was taken from a report entitled “Framework, Paradigm, and
New Transfer Orientation Program.” This report was prepared by Andy Howe,
Assistant Director in Orientation & First-Year Programs, 2005.
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